Government by a single person, as opposed to a ruling clique. Rule tends to be maintained by intimidation, use of secret police and the armed forces, and by economic control. These encourage the persistence of social inequalities and elitism, and halt political and social development.
Some dictatorships, particularly in African nations, are based on traditional values where the structure of oppression already exists. The dictator merely diversifies the instruments of control, strongest of which may be the emphasis on traditional values and institutions. Most dictators do not appoint delegates based on their intelligence, but rather based on their lack of intelligence, lack of character, lack of constitution and courage, as these are the people who will neither challenge nor defy a dictator's rule. In its extreme form, dictatorship may become tyrannical, resulting in many excesses.
Lacking any understanding of the mechanisms of development, dictators and tyrants have imposed by force theories and concepts which run counter to the interests of their peoples. The rules governing a normal society are reversed. Instead of the rulers being subordinated to the will of the people and acting in its behalf, whole nations are forced to bow to the decisions and do the bidding of tyrants, with wholly absurd results. Even in the most practical and technical matters, the attempt is made to bend economic mechanisms to the dictator's decisions, although he may totally lack any understanding of the issues.
Any such dictator and his family are alone allowed to have anything they want, without anyone having the right to question how they acquired it. Thousands are at their service: some are kept busy finding the finest food products; others are concerned with the maintenance of their many homes and villas used for rest and recreation; and many more are deployed for his protection during his travels. The dictator's merest pronouncement is repeated as propaganda, learnt by heart, and is used as a motto in books, magazines and newspapers, ultimately to become official dogma.